Music Biz Calls For Review of Australian Radio Quotas
The music industry is pushing for a review of Australian radio quotas by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) as it signals a wider update on content codes.
On Monday, ACMA released What Audiences Want, and now intends to begin a dialogue with broadcasters and content creators about updating their codes of practice as part of co-regulation.
These codes have not kept up to date as Australians changed how they consume content.
ACMA figures from June 2021, for instance, showed that 58% of adults used online subscription video services in a given week, compared to 54% who viewed free-to-air TV.
About 37% accessed these in the previous seven days, up from 28% in June 2019. But broadcasting codes of practice do not apply to online or catch-up content.
“It is encouraging to see ACMA address the fact that Australians are currently consuming more content, across a wider array of sources, than ever before,” ARIA and PPCA CEO Annabelle Herd said.
“In this environment, it’s critical we ensure Australian voices and stories are still heard and seen.
“Channels like radio are still critical for the discoverability of local music, now is an ideal time to examine the way current quotas on homegrown content are working and whether they are meeting their intended purpose.”
Pictured: ARIA and PPCA’s Annabelle Herd
Other ACMA figures from 2021 showed 28% of online adults watched five or more online services, up from 1% in 2019. While 67% streamed music, with Spotify the most accessed at 63%.
Netflix was the dominant subscription streaming platform, eyeballed by 66%.
The devices most used to stream video content at home were mobile phones (49%) and smart TVs (47%).
Radio listenership slid to 77% from 83% in 2020 but remained the most popular audio medium.
ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the new paper provides its views on what Australian audiences expect when they consume media, whether that be on TV, radio, in print or online.
“We identify important safeguards on issues such as accuracy and impartiality, transparency of commercial interests, privacy, and dealing with highly distressing content.
“Co-regulation currently sits at the heart of TV and radio content regulation in Australia.”
She sent out a strong message: “It is incumbent on the broadcasting industry to effectively deliver on co-regulation to maintain the confidence of audiences and the broader community.
“We, therefore, expect broadcasters will take this research into account when reviewing and updating their respective co-regulatory codes of practice.”
Radio’s dominant role was substantiated by the June 28 release of Edison’s “Infinite Dial” study.
It showed that 71% of Australians, or 15.6 million, listen to online audio each week, up from 66% in 2021 and 46% when the study started in 2017.
But 80% are still tuning in weekly to radio via AM, FM, DAB+, live streaming or catch-up podcasts, holding steady with 2021.
Radio also remained the top audio source in the car with 80% listening in the last month, and nearly one in three listened to a podcast in-car.
Podcast listening overall increased by two hours per week, seeing Australia overtake the US.